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Map Source: Parliament of Georgia

Population: 55,000

Size: 4,900 sq km

Main Town: Ambrolauri (pop: 3,100) (2001)

Average salary: GEL 84.1 ($46) per month

Principal economic activities: Viticulture, cattle-breeding

Minorities: Until the early 1980s, Racha was home to a robust Jewish Diaspora. Today, only 15 members remain.

Birth Rate: 8.2 per 1,000

Death Rate: 10.9 per 1,000

Nutshell History: Racha first appeared as an administrative unit in the late 10th century, headed by the eristavi (ducal) family of Baghvashi. In the 14th century, Racha became part of a united Georgia under the rule of King Giorgi the V, but in the 16th century the region was made subject to neighboring Imereti, a separate West Georgian kingdom. After a series of wars by local feudal rulers to restore Racha’s kingdom and expand its borders, Racha lost its status as a separate region in 1789. In 1810, Racha, along with the rest of Imereti, was annexed by the Russian Empire.

Claim to Fame: Racha is known for its unique flora and fauna, as well as for a series of impressive historic and architectural monuments, including the churches of Nikortsminda, Barakoni, Khonchiori, Mravaldzali, Minda-Tsikhe and others. The region boasts at least 25 separate types of natural mineral water and is also home to Khvanchkara, a semi-sweet red wine that is one of Georgia’s best known vintages.

Statistics Source: State Department for Statistics of Georgia

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